Dynasties in Chinese history
Many Chinese dynasties have ruled the country during its history. China is a society which has had a very long history. This history was affected by the dynasties which have ruled it. They have slowly changed China into its current form.
|Dynasty||Rulers||Ruling House or Clan||Years|
|Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors||三皇五帝||Sān Huáng Wǔ Dì||As English||(list)||various||2852-2070 BC||782|
|Xia Dynasty||夏||Xià||Summer||(list)||Sì (姒)||2070–1600 BC||470|
|Shang Dynasty||商||Shāng||Toponym||(list)||Zǐ (子)||1600–1029 BC||571|
|Western Zhou Dynasty||西周||Xī Zhōu||Toponym||(list)||Jī (姬)||1029–771 BC||275|
|Eastern Zhou Dynasty
||東周 / 东周
|Qin Dynasty||秦||Qín||Unknown, Possibly Toponym||(list)||Yíng (嬴)||221–206 BC||15|
|Western Han Dynasty||西漢 / 西汉||Xī Hàn||Toponym||(list)||Liú (劉 / 刘)||206 or 202 BC–9 AD, 23-25 AD||215|
|Xin Dynasty||新||Xīn||"New"||(list)||Wáng (王)||9–23 AD||14|
|Eastern Han Dynasty||東漢 / 东汉||Dōng Hàn||Toponym||(list)||Liú (劉 / 刘)||25–220||195|
|Three Kingdoms||三國 / 三国||Sān Guó||As English||(list)||Cáo (曹)
Liú (劉 / 刘)
Sūn (孫 / 孙)
|220–265 or 280||45|
|Western Jin Dynasty||西晉 / 西晋||Xī Jìn||Ducal title||(list)||Sīmǎ (司馬 / 司马)||265–317||52|
|Eastern Jin Dynasty||東晉 / 东晋||Dōng Jìn||Ducal title||(list)||Sīmǎ (司馬 / 司马)||317–420||103|
|Southern and Northern Dynasties||南北朝||Nán Běi Cháo||As English||(list)||various||386 or 420–589||169|
|Sui Dynasty||隋||Suí||Ducal title
|(list)||Yáng (楊 / 杨)||581–618||37|
|Tang Dynasty||唐||Táng||Ducal title||(list)||Lǐ (李)||618–907||289|
|Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms||五代十國 / 五代十国||Wǔ Dài Shí Guó||As English||(list)||various||907–960||53|
|Kingdom of Dali||大理国||Dàlǐ Guó||Toponym||(list)||Duan (段)||937–1253||316|
|Northern Song Dynasty||北宋||Běi Sòng||Toponym||(list)||Zhào (趙 / 赵)||960–1127||167|
|Southern Song Dynasty||南宋||Nán Sòng||Toponym||(list)||Zhào (趙 / 赵)||1127–1279||152|
|Liao Dynasty||遼 / 辽||Liáo||"Vast" or "Iron"
|(list)||Yelü ( ; 耶律)||907 or 916–1125||209|
( ; 完顏 / 完颜)
|Western Xia||西夏||Xī Xià||Toponym||(list)||Li ( ; 李)||1038–1227||189|
|Yuan Dynasty||元||Yuán||"Great" or "Primacy"||(list)||Borjigin
(ᠪᠣᠷᠵᠢᠭᠢᠨ; 孛兒只斤 / 孛儿只斤)
|Ming Dynasty||明||Míng||"Bright"||(list)||Zhū (朱)||1368–1644 or 1662||276|
|Qing Dynasty||清||Qīng||"Pure" or "Gold"
( ᠠᡳᠰᡳᠨ ᡤᡳᠣᡵᠣ}; 愛新覺羅 / 爱新觉罗)
|1636 or 1644–1911||268|
The Xia dynasty lasted from 2070 BC until 1600 BC. It was the first ruling dynasty in Chinese history. The Xia was probably created by emperor Yu the Great. It is not known for certain if the Xia dynasty actually existed. Many people think that the Xia dynasty is only a legend. This is because there is no evidence that can prove that there was some dynasty before 1600 BC. There were found some archaeological excavations from 1500 BC which may come from the Xia dynasty. For example one of the excavations causes archaeologists to believe that the foundations of China were created during the Xia dynasty. Also there are findings of the oldest Chinese calendar called a lunar calendar. Xia dynasty was ended by a dynasty named Shang.
The Shang dynasty was important for Chinese culture. The first Chinese character fonts were created at this time. They were mainly used by seers and shaman. People made their own ritual vessels, agricultural and craft tools and even weapons. Everything was made of cast bronze.
The Zhou dynasty lasted from 1045 BC until 256 BC. The Shangs had became weak because they were always fighting with a neighboring tribes. This was good for the less advanced Zhou. They defeat the Shang in the current town of An-yang. After that, the Zhou dynasty took the government. They ruled for the longest time of all Chinese dynasties.
Zhous were nomadic shepherds from the Shanxi province. The rulers of Zhou dynasty divided the country into four smaller areas. Each of these areas were controlled by relatives and members of aristocracy. Princes controlled fortified towns with a peasant background. They also helped the rulers at times of war. This form of government allowed the Zhou rulers to control more area.
- China Handbook Editorial Committee, China Handbook Series: History (trans., Dun J. Li), Beijing, 1982, 188-89; and Shao Chang Lee, "China Cultural Development" (wall chart), East Lansing, 1984.
- Columbia University. Dynasties song sung to the tune of "Frère Jacques" that repeats the major Chinese dynasties in chronological order.